Most Americans OK with Big Government, at least for now

"My parents own a small business, and they're hanging on, but it's kind of a day-by-day situation," she says. She got a master's degree in criminal justice last year, but her teaching job at a local college was eliminated, and ny local law enforcement agencies aren't hiring. She has landed a part-time job as a dispatcher for the Hopkinton Police Department as she looks for full-time work and considers returning to school for a doctorate.

She worries the downturn imperils the notion that with hard work and an education, "America is a place you can do anything."

Deanna Penzkofer, 62, of El Mirage, Ariz., an account manager for a credit-card company, agrees the economy is "very scary right now." She's not sure whether Obama's solution will work.

"I'm hoping it will be better by the end of the year," she says. "That's just hoping."

Where we stand

Americans surveyed in the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll divide roughly into four distinct groups when asked aboutPresident Obama?s economic proposals and the role of government.

Source: Analysis by Jim Norman of USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of 1,007 adults taken March 27-29. Reported by Susan Page, USA TODAY.

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